tisdag 25 oktober 2011

"You Sure Huh...?"

U.S.U.R.A. - Open Your Mind (The Album)
Released in 1993

Label: Time / Deconstruction  

I will never forget the first time I heard Open Your Mind. It was during the fall of 1992 and MTV slowly started to adapt to the fact that club music were about to be played during an increasingly amount of hours during both day and night time. Open your mind became an enormous hit all over Europe and the music video were played on heavy rotation, a video that was very typical for this period of time. The music video consisted of different 3D objects circulating round and round, and also faces transforming in different shapes and colors. Back then this was considered as very futuristic, and then followed many years when we laughed at it. Today the music video of Open Your Mind would probably be considered as a piece of cultural art with it's subliminal messages and ambiguous possibilities of interpretation. The song contained musical samples from 1982 hit New Gold Dreams by Simple Mind and a well-known voice sample from the movie Total Recall (1990) and the single were released in over 20 various versions. The track also became a way for people to prove that electronic dance music could convey serious messages as an answer to the fact that club music still were considered as meaningless. I loved the song from the very first second and still today I listen to it every once in a while.

For a very long time, Usura (or U.S.U.R.A. as it usually was written) were a very anonymous project. No one really knew anything about either the name or the members. Gradually we learnt that they were from Italy (many of the instrumental elements of Open Your Mind and mainly the bass drum, has been used in several Italian releases from the early 90's) and that the leading members were Time Records owner Giacomo Maiolini and the producers Walter Cremonini and Alessandro Gilardi. The name Usura is rumored to be taken from Maiolinis mother Ursula. Usura combined many genres that were popular during the early 90's, in their music. The bass drum was generally a very commanding piece of the tracks and also the decisive fact why Usura were considered as a techno project even though they used eurodance influenced melodies. The single Open Your Mind was followed by Sweat that also became a big hit all over Europe.

Around the same time as the third single Tear It Up were released in 1993, the album came out. None of the other single releases got any international success but in Italy both Tear It Up and the fourth single Drive Me Crazy reached equal success as the first two singles. The "Usura sound" were extremly popular in Italy during this period and the producers spread the style through other projects like Deadly Sins and Jinny, how ever the rest of Europe were not ready for the pumping sound of Usura. The album contained the four singles and another five songs which gave us a total of 9 tracks which ofcourse is a bit few. I can't really find any reason why Usura choose to do so and it's a shame because the album is fantastic and the project continued to release music for antother 4-5 years but without releasing a second album. How ever Usura revolutionized the Italian scene and made a big impact on club music that lasted for many years.

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